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Brazil's National Dish
The first feijoada was reputedly made in Recife, and while the popular story of its origins is that it was a dish that slaves made for themselves with the scraps of meats from the masters' tables, some historians now believe that feijoada was, in fact, made for the masters. It has a semblance to the Portuguese dish cozido (a meat and vegetable stew), and the cuts of meat used—including pig's feet and ears—are thought to have been parts prized by the Portuguese elite.
Feijoada, served at most Brazilian restaurants on Saturday, is accompanied by rice, collard greens, farofa (finely ground manioc fried in butter), rice, aipîm frito (fried yuca), torresminho (pork rinds), and orange slices—the citrus supposedly counteracts the fat.
2 cups (1 pound) black beans, rinsed and picked over
¾ lb. pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat
6 ounces slab bacon
½ lb. smoked pork sausages
½ lb. hot Portuguese sausage such as linguiça
1 or 2 lbs. ham hock or shank, cut into 1-inch rounds
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced and sautéed in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 6 green onions, including tops, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1½ tablespoons dried oregano, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover by several inches.
Place the drained beans in a saucepan and add enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 2-2½ hours. Add additional water as needed to keep the beans covered.
While the beans are cooking, prepare the meats. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Dice the pork butt or shoulder and the bacon into ½-inch cubes. Place the pork, sausages, and bacon in a large baking pan. Roast until well done. The sausages will be ready in 35-40 minutes and the other meats in 45-60 minutes.
Cook the ham hock at the same time as the meats are roasting. In a saucepan combine the ham hock rounds and onion with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the ham from the water and remove the meat from the bones; set aside. Or leave the rounds intact for serving alongside the beans. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl. Add the strained onions to the beans. Add the cooking liquid to the beans if needed.
Once the beans are almost cooked, check to make sure there's plenty of cooking liquid in the pot. It should be rather soupy at this point. Cut the sausages into rounds and add them and all the other cooked meats to the pot. Then add all the seasonings. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley just before serving.
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